The value of ‘self-promotion’

The more time I spend around experts in business, sports and other industries, the more I hear the term ‘mindset shift’.

If I had to describe what that meant, my simplified understanding would be ‘moving from one way of thinking’ about a specific topic, problem or opportunity, ‘to another way of thinking about said topic’.

What comes to mind when you read the words ‘self-promotion’? For most people, it’s a negative term evoking cringe-worthy visions of Kim Kardashian, big-noting, ‘look at me’ type characters.

If you fall into that category, it’s time for a mindset shift. Self-promotion does not have to be a dirty word, particularly when it comes to self-promotion online.

It’s time to start seeing your social media updates and presence, not as traditional self-promotion, but rather as an opportunity to share your knowledge, expertise and experiences, to help others, and build your authority.

It can take a bit of getting used to, but it is worth it.

Working with athletes, I see this negative association quite often. They’re wary of sharing too much about their accomplishments, not wanting to look like they’re getting ahead of themselves, while at the same time, wanting to grow their social media community, following and professional opportunities. Something has to shift.

The same applies in the corporate world. Talking about yourself online, highlighting your achievements, accomplishments and expertise is not only acceptable, it’s valuable. It’s valuable to your own online reputation, and valuable to those with whom you share your insights, knowledge and story.

The importance of self-promotion in this day and age is something I’ve spoken about before. (You can listen to my interview on the topic with Perth’s Radio 6PR here)

What is valuable self-promotion?

The concept of using your social media updates to provide value to your friends and followers in your online community is championed by social media expertGary Vaynerchuk, and is integral to building an engaged audience.

Self-promotion becomes valuable when the content benefits more than the person sharing it. It helps you, by showcasing your skills, knowledge, dedication, passion and expertise, and it helps others, through its ability to motivate, educate, entertain and inspire your audience.

Why is it so valuable to you?

More and more, first impressions and assessments of worth are being formed based on online searches. It’s safe to assume that opportunities will come and go purely based on your online identity, and certainly well before you’ve had a chance to introduce the ‘real you’, in person.

Promoting or telling your story online ensures that your online identity represents you accurately. You decide what you’re known for online, so think about what you want that to be. Do your social media profiles, and the content you post and interact online with reflect that? Or are you hiding the good stuff?

If so, it’s time to start sharing what makes you, you, so that you are making the best first (and likely only) impression possible. Give your hard work, achievements and experiences the best chance possible to be seen, heard and acknowledged. They just might be the slight edge you need to beat out the competition in today’s highly competitive world.

What does valuable self-promotion look like?

Could something as seemingly egocentric as a ‘selfie’ be valuable self-promotion? Of course! A picture can be worth a thousand words, so a selfie of an athlete with a team-mate, family member or coach celebrating a hard-earned victory or accomplishment can provide inspiration and motivation, and coupled with an explanatory text caption, can tell a story of hard-work, persistence, dedication and gratitude. Tell the many who aspire to be like you about the lessons you learned along the journey, and the wisdom and guidance you received. That is truly valuable.

About to go on-stage to deliver a professional keynote speech, or waiting at an airport en-route to an exciting business opportunity or event? Tell your audience how the opportunity arose, who you are working with and what it means to you, by capturing the moment with an authentic selfie, or social media update. You are in this position for a reason, and are involved in and achieving more great things than you realise. Ensure that story is not missed, now or in the future. Tell it online.

Ryan Mobilia is an expert in social communications, and the author of‘Social Media Scouting Report: Helping Athletes To Shine Online’.

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